Barcelona, located on the northern Mediterranean coast of Spain, is undoubtedly the most cosmopolitan and economically active city in the country. Barcelona has been an urban laboratory since the High Middle Ages. It is a place of diversity, a backdrop for a multiplicity of social and cultural processes on multiple scales that reflect different ways of constructing the future, a city with a long experience of urban life and social innovations. This is a city that has constantly reinvented itself. The early industrial era, the periods of strife such as the Tragic Week of 1909 and the May Day of 1937, the Spanish Civil War, the transition to democracy, the 1992 Olympics, and present-day cultural activity all show how Barcelona has experienced new ways of reclaiming the city for its citizens. Its history is reflected by its urban layout and in the way that it continues to take shape. Barcelona has a long history and there are monuments from the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods and even earlier, but the most characteristic architecture dates from the last 150 years. Barcelona is a centre of Modernista architecture and is especially distinguished by the works of Antoni Gaudí, who together with his great contemporaries gave the city a new and exciting look, while remaining at the pinnacle of modernity since then.
A little bit about the history of Barcelona
The first human settlements in Barcelona date back to Neolithic times. The city itself was founded by the Romans, who set up a colony called Barcino at the end of the 1st century BC. The colony had about a thousand inhabitants and was bounded by a defensive wall, the remains of which can still be seen in the old town. For over 200 years, Barcelona was under Muslim rule. Later, following the Christian reconquest, it became a county of the Carolingian Empire and one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon. During its fruitful medieval period Barcelona became the economic and political centre of the Western Mediterranean. The city’s Gothic Quarter bears witness to the splendour enjoyed by the city from the 13th to the 15th centuries. From the 15th to 18th centuries Barcelona entered a period of decline while it struggled to maintain its economic and political independence. This struggle ended in 1714, when the city fell to the Bourbon troops and the rights and privileges of Catalonia and its citizens were suppressed. A period of cultural revival began in the mid-19th century with the arrival and expansion of the textile industry. During this period, which was known as the Renaixença, Catalan regained prominence as a literary language. The 20th century ushered in widespread urban renewal throughout Barcelona, culminating in the landmark Eixample district, which showcases some of Barcelona’s most distinctive Modernista (Catalan art nouveau) buildings. One of the most eminent architects was the Catalan Antoni Gaudí, who designed buildings such as Casa Milà (known as “La Pedrera”, the Catalan for “stone quarry”), Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família church, which have become world-famous landmarks. The freedoms won during this period were severely restricted following the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the subsequent dictatorship. With the reinstatement of democracy in 1978, Barcelona society recovered its economic strength and the Catalan language was restored. The city’s hosting of the 1992 Olympic Games gave fresh impetus to Barcelona’s development and reaffirmed its status as a major metropolis. In 2004, the Forum of Cultures reclaimed industrial zones to convert them into residential districts – an example of the renewed vigour with which Barcelona has embraced the 21st century.
How to get
From the airport
The Barcelona – El Prat airport is located 16 kilometres south of the city and is also known as El Prat, the town where it is located. Terminals T1 and T2 (A, B and C) are organized according to carriers and not to the destination or place of origin. Connections between Barcelona and the airport:
Aerobús (A1 and A2)
— Daily service between Plaça de Catalunya and Barcelona Airport
— Frequency: every 15 minutes
— Approximate journey time: 35 minutes
— Single ticket price: 5.90 €
Metro Line 9 Sud (L9 South)
— Daily service between Zona Universitaria station, downtown and Barcelona Airport
— Frequency: every 7 minutes
— Single ticket price: 4.50 €
Train R2 from terminal 2
— R2 train line is currently the only line that arrives at the airport from Barcelona (Sants Station) or other cities in Catalunya
— The Airport train station is located 200 m outside Terminal T2 (Rodalies de Catalunya Renfe trains)
— Frequency: every 30 minutes
— Approximate journey time: 20-25 minutes
— Single ticket price: 5.30 €
— 24/7 service from taxi ranks located in both airport terminals
— Approximate journey time: 20–40 minutes, depending on the final destination, the traffic conditions and the speed limits in force at the outskirts of Barcelona
— Approximate price: 35 €; amount payable must be indicated on the taximeter.
— Some taxi telephone companies:
Taxi Ecològic Barcelona +34 932 783 000,
Radio Taxi +34 933 03 30 33.
Public transport operates an integrated fare system enabling passengers to obtain a free transfer from one method of public transport to another within a period of 1 hour and 15 minutes. There are different types of travel cards and transport passes in Barcelona, valid throughout the public transport network (metro, buses, tram and suburban rail). They can be purchased at metro stations or tram stations and tobacconists and newsagents. They can also be purchased online (https://tickets.tmb.cat/en)
— Single ticket: €2.40 (single journey only, does not allow free transfers)
— T-casual card: €11.35 Individual travel card allowing 10 journeys to be made on all operators in the Integrated Fare System
— You can consult the offer and prices of basic tickets or travel cards and passes valid for multi-journeys and by days on the following link.
— Day passes
— Hola BCN!. The Hola BCN! Barcelona transport pass offers unlimited journeys on the metro, bus (TMB) and the rest of the Barcelona public transport network at any time of day for a period of 48 h (€15.20), 72 h (€22.20), 96 h (€28.80) or 120 h (€35.40) counting from the moment you first use the ticket. The card is also valid for metro journeys from Barcelona Airport to the city centre and vice versa.
— Taxis: Taxis with a green light can be hailed on the street. All taxis accept credit cards.
— Taxi telephone: Taxi Ecològic +34 932 78 30 00 – Radio Taxi + 34 933 03 30 33
Please take note of the following safety precautions:
- Do not display large amounts of cash; carry only as much as you need.
- Carry your handbag or backpack in front of you.
- Be vigilant in crowds, restaurants, and public transportation.
- When walking around the city, know how to get to your destination in advance.
- Emergency telephone line in more than fifty languages: 112.
- Take note of the contact information for your country’s closest consulate.
Smoking is banned in all public spaces, including the conference venue.
Barcelona enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate. In October, average temperatures vary between 20 and 23 °C during the day and 17 – 15 °C at night.
Credit cards and tipping
Most establishments accept credit cards.
Tipping in bars and restaurants is not mandatory in Barcelona, but if you tip, 5% is recommended.
Banks are open from 8:30 h to 14:00 h. ATMs are widely available throughout Barcelona and most are operational 24 hours a day. Shops usually open from 10:00 h to 21:00 h in the city centre and they close from 14:00 h to 17:00 h in other neighbourhoods.
In Barcelona there are two official languages, Spanish and Catalan, but English is spoken in many stores, bars and restaurants in the city centre.
Tap water is safe to drink in Barcelona but it does not have a pleasant taste.
In emergency situations, you can contact the local police, ambulance service, fire department and other emergency services by calling 112.
All European citizens may go to a hospital with the European Health Insurance Card. All other participants will need to secure their own personal health insurance prior to arrival.
Electric outlets in Barcelona are continental European and have two round-pin outputs and a voltage of 220V.
The time in Spain is UTC + 01:00
Website of Barcelona Tourism: https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/
The Barcelona Card (http://www.barcelonacard.com/en) is the city’s official visitor card which let you explore, visit and discover Barcelona at your leisure and offers big savings on visitor attractions. The Barcelona Card includes free admission and discounts at the city’s main visitor attractions.